9 Pages

Developing Criteria of Women's Studies

for Database Evaluation: The Example Sarah M. Pritchard

Since the advent of computerized databases as major sources of information, the evaluation of these tools has been a significant area of investigation by librarians and information specialists. The proliferation of both individual databases and search systems and the high costs associated with utilizing these services have necessitated careful review and comparison to ensure the best use of one's resources. Such studies have typically followed two directions: the evaluation of information retrieval systems as a whole and the detailed comparison of individual databases within a subject field. In the former case explicit criteria and methods have been devised and consistently applied, whereas in the latter there is greater variation in methodology and narrower use of formal criteria. This paper will review the literature addressing the second problem, the evaluation of database content. Using broad principles identified in that literature, the paper describes the development and application of specific criteria for determining the usefulness of various bibliographic data bases for searches in the field of women's studies.